Eyre Peninsula is establishing itself as a bona fide wine region, with its maritime climate lending a unique flavour to its first vintage being crushed in Port Lincoln this month.
Peter Teakle started work on the peninsula’s first winery in December last year and has installed a multimillion-dollar 100-tonne crush facility with the vineyard’s white grapes now harvested.
“We get a cool breeze off the sea, it just retains beautiful acidity in the fruit, it doesn’t get over ripe,” Peter Teakle Wines chief winemaker Liz Heidenreich said.
Port Lincoln is about 250km west of the South Australian capital Adelaide. It is the largest town on Eyre Peninsula and is considered Australia’s premium seafood capital, producing southern bluefin tuna, abalone and oysters.
Grapes from the 12ha vineyard, along with those harvested from nearby Boston Bay wines, are usually transported hundreds of kilometres to O’Leary Walker Wines in the Clare Valley for crushing.
This year both wineries have for the first time been able to crush at home, with Heidenreich saying the first of the whites made locally should be bottled and on the market later this year.
“This is the first time this has happened on Eyre Peninsula; it’s a whole new industry, there’s lots of industry here already but it’s mainly with the fishing, this is quite different for the region,” she said.
“All the whites have been in and we’ve started the fermentation on site, and the reds will come in on the weekend.”
The talented winemaker is usually found in the Clare wine region where she coordinates the making of her own wines under the Liz Heidenreich Wines label, using some of the grapes from the original vineyards her grandfather planted in the Barossa Valley in 1936.
This year, Heidenreich has spent the past few months in Port Lincoln overseeing not only the harvest but also construction of the new winery.
It is her husband, David O’Leary of O’Leary Walker Wines, who has previously crushed and made wine for Peter Teakle after he bought the Port Lincoln vineyard three years ago.
Boston Bay has also previously sent its grapes to Clare for crushing but Heidenreich said less transport time meant better quality, fresher grapes and significant savings in transport.
Peter Teakle Wines has now harvested its riesling, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, with Heidenreich saying the reds to come are shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
“The climate is quite cool here and we are also thinking of planting some pinot noir,” Heidenreich said.
Peter Teakle has been involved in the wine industry for more than 50 years, having also been part of a wine label printing business and managing a vineyard on Akuna Station in the Riverland.
He launched Peter Teakle Wines in 2017 after buying the former Delacolline Winery Estate early in 2016 and has since established more vineyards and the picturesque Line & Label Restaurant on the hill overlooking Port Lincoln and Boston Bay.
The property also has an orchard with 400 fruit trees, 80 garden beds and a large kitchen garden.
The winery will also have a new cellar door and Heidenreich said there were extra rainwater tanks for vineyard irrigation.
“We have a lot of rainwater capacity, we increased that with the new winery, we have a lot of tanks we are ready to fill … but it’s been pretty dry the last few years,” she said.
South Australia is responsible for about 50 per cent of Australia’s annual wine production and is home to several world-renowned regions including Barossa, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra.
This article was first published by The Lead.